Iowa trackster Mullen working towards injury free season

BY MATT CABEL | APRIL 18, 2013 5:00 AM

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Things are different this year for Jordan Mullen.

For starters, it’s his last year as a hurdler for the Iowa track and field team. His 13.77 110-meter hurdle time currently sits atop the Big Ten and is 12th nationally.

He’s also healthy with less than a month remaining before the Big Ten outdoor championships.  After tearing his left quadriceps as a freshman, his right quadriceps as a sophomore, and his hamstring as a junior, health has become an important, necessary factor in Mullen’s track career.

“You hit strides, and then all of a sudden you’re injured — you’re done,” Mullen said. “The coaches say, ‘Oh, we don’t know when you’ll be back’, and it’s really made me hungry.”

Improved health and training schedules have been important in Mullen’s training this season. After a weekend meet, Mullen said that he usually doesn’t practice again until Tuesday, and does the bulk of his training during the middle of the week. He works closely with trainer Landon Evans and assistant coach Joey Woody. Mullen said that Woody has done extensive research on training for athletes and hurdlers, a factor that has made a big difference in preventing injuries thus far in the season.

“I call Jordan a high-output guy,” Woody said. “Anything he does is at a very high voltage — we have to limit the total volume of training we do.”

Woody has Mullen focus on high quality training with a lot of emphasis on rest and restoration. He gives Mullen plenty of rest so that he can come into practice the next day and do more high quality practice.

“He has his low days where he’s just not recovered or just doesn’t feel it,” Woody said. “He just takes it easy on those days. I’ve learned a lot that he’s not a guy you can really push through workouts, but he doesn’t need that … He’s more of a let’s get him to the start line healthy, feeling confident guy so that he can compete against the best competition in the country.”

Mullen’s biggest goals for the season is earning All-American status and earning his team an outdoor Big Ten championship. He’s also working towards getting his 110-meter time closer to 13 seconds.

Head coach Larry Wieczorek said that Mullen needs to “keep doing what he’s been doing” for the rest of the season. Wieczorek said that Mullen has improved in every stage of his life, including as an athlete and leader.

“Make yourself tough to beat,” Wieczorek said. “Don’t worry so much about the opposition, what other people are doing. I’ve told him to focus on what he can do and put his best self on the field. If he does that, he’s very tough to beat.”

Despite the injuries, the setbacks, the anguish, Mullen’s attitude and vigor on the track haven’t changed, and won’t change. He can’t earn his second Big Ten championship if he worries about his further injuries during competition.

“I’d rather tear something or injure myself doing 100 percent than 85 percent,” Mullen said. “When I get out on the track to compete, it’s 100 percent every time. There’s no, ‘Oh I’m just going to go out and win this’ — it’s 100 percent, whether I win or get fifth.”

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